London Drum

King’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace

King’s Gallery
Where? King’s Gallery, Buckingham Gate Road · Web: Opening times? 10 AM to 5.30 PM (Mon & Thu-Sun); Last entry 1¼ hours before closing Visiting hours may change Price? Adults £17.00; Children £9.00 (5-17); Infants free entry (under-5) Entry charges may change Time required? A typical visit is 45-60 mins Parking: Nearby car parks Buses: 11, 211, C1, C10 Bus fares Trains: The closest station is St. James’s Park Circle District Other nearby stations: Victoria Train fares

Craig’s review… The King certainly does have a lot of nice paintings. He’s got so many of them, in fact, that he’s run out of wall space in Buckingham Palace and had to open up a whole extra art gallery next-door to give her more room.

The first thing you need to know about the King’s Gallery is that it has an annoying habit of selling you a timed ticket during busy periods. So if you’re one of those meticulous people who plans out every minute of your itinerary with military precision (run here, run there, take a few photos, blow your nose, then jump on a bus with seconds to spare) then prepare to abandon your plans because you might turn up at 1 PM and get told to come back at 2 PM.

There’s nothing you can do about this because it’s the King’s Gallery, and you can’t argue with the King (because he’s the King). If he tells you to return later then that’s exactly what you do – simple as that.

The Royal Art Collection

Most of the objects, pictures, paintings and engravings are taken from the Royal Collection, but a lot of the temporary exhibitions borrow artworks from around the world so you never see the same stuff twice. In the past I’ve seen old Italian masters in here, pages from Leonardo da Vinci’s notebooks, portraits by the likes of Rubens, Rembrandt and Reynolds, and treasures from the Georgian Court… it can be quite varied.

The architecture of the first room is a bit bland, but the next two are coloured up in the same deep greens and velvety reds of Buckingham Palace – then all of a sudden it’s over. That is literally all you get: three big rooms plus a couple of tiny side-rooms.

I always expect there to be more on show than there actually is, but I suppose the bulk of the Royal Collection is already hanging on the walls of Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle and Hampton Court. That’s where all the best works are, so if you want to see the meat of the Queen’s collection then you’ll have to visit those. But that’s not to say it’s not worth a visit – I still quite enjoy it whenever I go. Just don’t expect it to fill up an afternoon. You’ll be lucky if it fills up an hour.

Here’s a tip: if you buy a tour ticket for Buckingham Palace then they’ll try and push a more expensive version on you which includes entry to the Royal Mews and King’s Gallery as well (they call it a ‘Royal Day Out’).

I think that’s a complete waste of time because if you’re already going to the palace then you’ll see the best of the collection there anyway. So just stick with the palace and the Royal Mews.

Worth a visit? Value for money? Good for kids? Easy to get to?

I also recommend… If you enjoy this then try Courtauld Gallery (walk it in 28 mins or travel from St James’s Park to Temple by tube); National Gallery (walk it in 18 mins or catch a tube from St James’s Park to Charing Cross) and Wallace Collection (walk it in 28 mins or catch a tube from St James’s Park to Bond Street). You can see more of the Royal Collection at Buckingham Palace, Kensington Palace, Windsor Castle and Hampton Court

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Your comments and questions

H Bunnock Is it worth going or not?

Craig Hi H Bunnock. It's definitely one of the smallest galleries in London, but I suppose it all depends on what they've got on. It's all temporary exhibitions, so if you're interested in the subject on show then it's worth going. But if I was minded to pay for a gallery then I'd probably go for the Courtauld instead

Jack&Mags Hi! Is it necessary to book beforehand?

Craig Hi Jack&Mags. If you're on a tight itinerary then I would recommend booking because it's all timed tickets. You might turn up at 1 PM and be given a ticket to return at 2 PM. So I would try booking online beforehand

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